What has made a difference in the approach of the EU is that it was a collective pact. Unlike the Lacey Act, the EU had measures in place to help support supply side countries adjust and improve their systems to respond to markets. What the FLEGT AP also did is start a global push for market scrutiny – US, Japan, Australia and now even China through more pressure are looking at their own regulations to support legal trade.
Illegal logging is a pervasive problem of major international concern. It poses a significant threat to forests as it contributes to the process of deforestation and forest degradation, which is responsible for about 20 % of global CO2 emissions, threatens biodiversity, and undermines sustainable forest management and development including the commercial viability of operators acting in accordance with applicable legislation. It also contributes to desertification and soil erosion.
The European Union (EU) adopted in 2010 Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market (the EU Timber Regulation, EUTR), as part of the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT AP). The FLEGT AP is the EU’s policy instrument to combat illegal logging in the world's forests and the EUTR is the key instrument to address the problem from the demand side.
The EUTR established the following three key obligations:
1. It prohibits the placing on the market of illegally harvested timber (i.e. timber harvested in contravention of the applicable legislation in the county of harvest) and of timber products derived from such timber; 2. It requires operators, who place timber and timber products on the EU market for the first time, to exercise "due diligence" (DD), i.e. to undertake a risk management exercise, so as to ensure that only legally harvested timber (i.e. timber harvested in accordance with the applicable legislation in the county of harvest) or timber products derived from such timber are placed on the EU market; 3. It requires traders of timber and timber products already placed on the EU market to keep records of their suppliers and customers (i.e. obligation of traceability)
The due diligence system includes three elements inherent to risk management: 1. access to information: the due diligence system should provide access to information about the sources and suppliers of the timber and timber products being placed on the internal market for the first time, including relevant information such as: compliance with the applicable legislation, the country of harvest, species, quantity, and where applicable sub-national region and concession of harvest.
2. risk assessment: operators should carry out a risk assessment, through the analysis and evaluation of the information gathered and relevant risk assessment criteria including: assurance of compliance with legislation prevalence of illegal harvesting of the tree species and practices in the country of harvest complexity of supply chain
3. mitigation of the risk identified: where a risk is identified, operators should mitigate such risk in a manner proportionate to the risk identified, with a view to preventing illegally harvested timber and timber products derived from such timber from being placed on the internal market.
If no negligible risk conclusion can be reached operators shall not place the timber on the EU market.
FLEGT licences, CITES permits= deemed to comply with the EUTR. No due diligence is required for FLEGT licenced timber.
Infringements of the EUTR detected during checks of domestic timber were mainly related to breaches of the due diligence requirement and infringements of prohibitions, the former leading primarily to notices of remedial action and the latter mainly to remedial actions that led to penalties and other penalties .
For imported timber, infringements were primarily related to operators’ due diligence system, and the majority of countries issued notices of remedial action and took other measures in the first instance .
NL successfully brought to court a Dutch operator who imported timber from a Cameroonian sawmill found to be dealing in illegally harvested timber. DE court ruled that 2 shipments of ‘wenge’ wood imported into Germany from the Democr Rep of the Congo, via BE, in contravention of EUTR. 120/200 DDS UK issued notices of remedial action to 2 UK operators importing timber from Myanmar and won a court case imposing a fine on a company that . SE CA issued prohibition decisions concerning teak and teak products to an operator importing teak decking from Taiwan containing Burmese Teak and to an operator that imports teak directly from Myanmar. The Danish Competent Authority has notified an operator to the police for being in breach with a March injunction (prohibiting all Danish operators from placing Burmese teak on the country’s market) and Article 6 of the EUTR.
In 2018, 15 countries are engaged in VPAs. Negotiating: Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guyana, Honduras
Between 15 November 2016 and 14 November 2017: 39,000 FLEGT licences have been issued and 1.2 billion USD worth of FLEGT licensed products have been exported to 28 EU member states.
These 39000 FLEGT licenses are part of the 200,000 verified legal documents to exports worldwide, which totals 10 billion USD in value.
FLEGT: insights, impacts and synergies with key markets
FLEGT: insights, impacts
and synergies with key
Asia Pacific Rainforest Summit
Yogyakarta, 24 April 2018
FLEGT Action Plan
• Development cooperation with timber-producing countries
• Trade agreements between EU and timber-exporting
countries (Voluntary Partnership Agreements – VPAs)
• Broader legislation to exclude illegal timber from EU
market (EU Timber Regulation)
• International cooperation and dialogue with other
• Encouragement for private sector supply chain control
EU Timber Regulation - Key obligations
EU traders (after first placing on the EU market) shall
be able to identify from whom they bought the
timber products and, where applicable, to whom they
have supplied the timber products
The placing on the market of illegally harvested
timber or timber products derived from such timber
shall be prohibited
EU operators shall exercise due diligence when placing
timber or timber products on the market by
implementing procedures so as to minimise the risk of
illegal timber in their supply chain
2798 checks on imported timber resulting in:
• 525 notices of remedial action (~19% of checks)
• 139 penalties (~5% of checks)
• 286 other measures (~10% of checks)
• 5 court cases concluded (more ongoing)
17735 checks on domestic timber resulting in:
• 916 notices of remedial action (~5% of checks)
• 992 penalties (~6% of checks)
• 370 other measures (~2% of checks)
• 21 court cases concluded
EUTR implementation and enforcement
March 2015 to February 2017
91% related to Due Diligence
6% related to Prohibition
4% related to Traceability
44% related to Due Diligence
45% related to Prohibition
11% related to Traceability
8 countries in VPA negotiation
6 VPAs in VPA implementation
(Cameroon, CAR, Ghana, Liberia,
Republic of Congo, and Vietnam*)
1 VPA operational licensing (Indonesia)
*The agreement is yet to be ratified but preparation for implementation is
One year of FLEGT licensing
In the first year of licensing,
which are part
1. Within stakeholder
3. Bilateral negotiations
with the EU
Impacts of VPAs on
Synergies with key markets
Mechanism on Forest Law
Enforcement and Governance
Forum for policy dialogue
sharing information on
policies and legal
coordinating initiatives to
stop illegal logging and
EU-China cooperation to combat illegal logging
Support the development of timber legality
legislation in China
Support cooperation between China and VPA